‘It’s just that image you face everyday’: Waco breast cancer survivor describes battle with body image

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As women battle breast cancer, they can sometimes experience changes in their appearance during treatment. These changes, like hair loss from chemotherapy, can affect how patients feel about their body.

For Waco resident Heather Field, she remembers feeling insecure about her body during her battle with breast cancer.

“I would wake up every morning and think I don’t have any hair and think, ‘wow I have cancer,’” she said. “It’s just that image you face everyday that you actually do have cancer.”

In March 2019 Field went to a regular mammogram appointment and discovered she had stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 21 rounds of radiation. Before the chemo took it, Field decided to cut her own hair.

“One of the most humbling part of my story is saying that shaving my head and not having hair was one of the hardest parts of the journey,” Field said.

Field’s oncologist, Dr. Carlos Encarnacion with Texas Oncology - Waco was with her through her fight. The doctor said that cancer patients can’t always fulfill familial responsibilities while they undergo treatment, so others sometimes have to step in. That can be especially hard on the patients.

“Cancer basically disturbs everything in their lives,” Dr. Encarnacion said. “Plans for vacation, job, family plans are kind of all turned upside down. Knowing that you have cancer can be a very stressful situation and can affect the ability to work.”

In December 2019 Field was declared cancer-free. Field said faith, family and staying strong all got her through her fight.

“In any competition, any fight, anything that you do your mental game is everything,” she said. “You have to have that spirit to take care of business when it’s time to do it.”